'The issue is credibility' - Macleans.ca
 

‘The issue is credibility’


 

Here is the prepared text for Michael Ignatieff’s speech in the House this morning in response to the budget. As he sometimes does, he may have deviated from the script—I didn’t witness his remarks personally. But, for what it’s worth, here is what his speechwriter crafted for him.

Merci, Monsieur le Président,

Le premier ministre a donné à Son Excellence, la Gouverneure générale quelque 6 000 mots. Je serai plus bref.

We’ve seen a Throne Speech and Budget that try to make up in length what they lack in vision.

Rien dans ce budget ou le Discours du Trône n’est venu justifier la décision du premier ministre de fermer le Parlement pendant 6 semaines. Rien.

Mais les Canadiens ne sont pas dupes. Le premier ministre a parié sur la désillusion des Canadiens et il a perdu son pari.

Car pour les Canadiens, les raisons de la prorogation étaient claires dès le départ. Le premier ministre a fermé le Parlement pour ne plus entendre les questions sur le scandale des détenus afghans.

The Prime Minister shut down Parliament to skirt the blame for his year of willful blindness, when the Conservatives had credible reports of torture in Afghan jails, but did nothing.

We’ve called on the government to hold a full, independent public inquiry into the detainee issue, with a mandate to examine the whole length of the mission in Afghanistan.

First the Conservatives refused, then they shut down Parliament.

Mais c’était plus qu’une opération de camouflage. C’était une attaque contre notre démocratie.

Ce parlement n’est pas la maison du premier ministre. Un parlement est la maison du peuple. En fermant le Parlement, le premier ministre jeté les Canadiens hors de leur maison.

Les Canadiens n’ont pas aimé ça. Ils savent que tout premier ministre est redevable envers le Parlement, le peuple.

Nous avons présenté des réformes concrètes pour restreindre le pouvoir de proroger le Parlement.

On Wednesday afternoon, we asked for unanimous consent to establish a Special Committee to reform prorogation and prevent future abuse.

That motion—that modest first step—was shouted down by Conservative members opposite. Shame on them.

The issue is credibility. Canadians expect it. This government lacks it.

No credibility on detainees. No credibility on prorogation. And no credibility on its own agenda.

The Throne Speech and the Budget let Canadians down. They expected vision, and got gimmicks. They deserved ambition, and got drift. This is a tired government, falling back on its laissez-faire instincts, leaving Canadians to fend for themselves.

Take pensions, for instance. This Budget has nothing to offer.

Canada is already in a pensions crisis. And it’s not just a matter of catastrophes, like Nortel.

Un tiers des Canadiens n’ont pas assez d’économies de retraite pour maintenir leur niveau de vie lorsqu’ils cesseront de travailler.

Un autre tiers des Canadiens n’ont pas du tout d’économies de retraite: ils dépendront entièrement de ce qu’ils recevront du gouvernement.

Alors, trop de Canadiens ont trop peu d’économies pour prendre leur retraite avec dignité.

Et trop souvent, les économies de ceux qui ont réussi à mettre de l’argent de côté ne sont pas en sécurité. La dernière année nous l’a prouvé.

Last year, we put forward specific proposals to improve retirement security for middle-class families. We called for a Supplementary CPP, for use of the CPP as a pension fund manager of last resort, and for changes to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to protect the most vulnerable pensioners.

We called for action. Canadians expected action. What did the Conservatives deliver? Seniors Day.

Well, Seniors Day is going to be pointless, if seniors can’t afford to take the day off.

It’s the same gimmickry for our veterans.

À la fin de janvier, nous avons organisé une table ronde sur les anciens combattants.

Nous avons eu des témoignages troublants sur leurs difficultés à obtenir des soins ou de l’aide pour surmonter un handicap.

One-in-five veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder will attempt suicide. They need our help.

But what do the Conservatives offer? Community memorials and Vimy Ridge Day.  Worthy gestures—but veterans need help, not memorials.

Our families, our seniors, and our veterans can’t live on symbols and gimmicks.

Il y a cinq semaines, le Parti libéral a mis de l’avant trois propositions précises pour créer des emplois et promouvoir l’innovation et l’entrepreneurship.

Nous avons invité le gouvernement à offrir des avances de fonds pour rendre plus efficace la déduction pour amortissement accéléré; une telle mesure aurait aidé les manufacturiers à moderniser leur entreprise, à créer des emplois et à améliorer leur productivité.

Nous avons proposé des incitatifs financiers temporaires pour faciliter l’embauche de jeunes travailleurs.

Et nous avons appelé à de nouveaux incitatifs fiscaux pour mieux soutenir nos entrepreneurs et nos innovateurs dans des secteurs en émergence, comme les énergies propres et les sciences de la vie.

But instead of measures to create jobs, this budget has only freezes, cuts, and gimmicks:

The Conservatives are cutting four-and-a-half billion dollars in planned foreign aid, right when our focus in Afghanistan is shifting from military to humanitarian engagement.

The government is making superficial tax changes to the universal child benefit—changes that won’t help low-income families or single parents get the childcare they need.

The Conservatives are ignoring the major issues that matter to Canadians.

Pensions? Nothing.

Healthcare? Nothing.

Les changements climatiques? Rien.

La culture? Rien.

The Conservatives are raising payroll taxes by 13 billion dollars—a tax hike that will kill more than 200,000 jobs, and hurt small businesses when they need help the most.

They’re not credible on innovation, when they cut $148 million from the research councils last year, let $160 million in approved spending for the Canada Space Agency lapse, shut down the National Science Advisor, and walked away from 50 years of Canadian leadership in nuclear medicine.

Les investissements en recherche et développement en pourcentage du PIB sont en baisse constante depuis que ce gouvernement est au pouvoir. Nous avons reculé en matière de productivité, en matière de connectivité Internet et en matière d’innovation.

Et un nombre non négligeable de députés du gouvernement continuent de remettre en question les preuves scientifiques des changements climatiques.

Comment croire ce gouvernement lorsqu’il parle de créer les emplois de demain? Il a sabordé, l’automne dernier, le programme ecoÉnergie, le meilleur programme canadien de stimulation des énergies renouvelables.

Les Conservateurs ne sont pas crédibles sur la création d’emplois parce qu’ils ne sont pas crédibles sur les énergies propres.

L’énergie propre, c’est l’investissement pour notre avenir.

Ils dépensent, les Conservateurs, mais ils n’investissent pas.

The Conservatives are spending more than 40 billion dollars on stimulus. But what did Canadians get? Where’s our return on investment?

If you start counting in October 2008—back when the Prime Minister was saying there wouldn’t be a recession in Canada—you’ll find more than 300,000 Canadians who’ve lost their jobs, and are still out-of-work.

Job creation is down, productivity is down, and youth unemployment is double the national average—and even the jobs the Conservatives promise in this Budget won’t make up for the ones we’ve lost.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Where were the landmark investments in clean energy? The investments in green infrastructure that would create jobs for our kids?

Canada missed those opportunities, because this government chose to ignore them. The Prime Minister’s spending didn’t come with a vision, it came with a whole lot of zeroes—and this budget doesn’t make up the difference.

Above all, this government cannot be credible on getting their record deficit under control.

Let’s remember:

They inherited a 13 billion dollar surplus.

They spent at record levels in 2006-2007. They were on the edge of deficit before the recession started.

They said there would be no recession. Then they said there would be no deficit. Then, suddenly, the deficit was at 32 billion. Then 50.Then 56.

You can’t run a country if you can’t count.

Mais ce ne sont pas seulement les chiffres qui posent problème; c’est surtout l’inexistence d’un plan cohérent pour reprendre le contrôle des finances publiques.

The government says they’ll freeze departmental spending beginning in 2011, but that’s it. They don’t say which programs they’ll cut, which services Canadians will lose, and where the Conservatives will find the necessary savings.

This isn’t a plan, it’s a very large empty promise.

The Conservatives say they’re going to freeze our salaries. Fine. But freezing my salary is not a deficit reduction plan.

If the Prime Minister were serious about leading by example, he’d start by cutting the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars he’s wasting on partisan advertising and polling and management consultants. He’d cut the size of Cabinet, and ban “10-percenter” mailings outside MPs’ own ridings. And he’d stop the increasing spending in the Prime Minister’s own department.

Les familles canadiennes font des économies là où elles le peuvent. Le gouvernement devrait faire la même chose.

Et c’est vraiment là que se trouve le cœur du problème.

Ce gouvernement n’écoute pas les familles canadiennes.

Lire un sondage, ce n’est pas écouter les citoyens. Diviser les Canadiens pour en tirer des avantages partisans, ce n’est pas écouter les Canadiens.

J’ai passé les premières semaines de l’année sur la route à visiter des universités et des collèges à travers le Canada.

J’ai écouté les jeunes me parler de leurs inquiétudes et de leurs espoirs. Ils m’ont parlé de leur crainte du chômage et de la nécessité de protéger l’environnement et de combattre les changements climatiques.

J’ai écouté une génération des Canadiens qui est prête à se lever, mais à qui on ne donne pas la chance de le faire.

Among their various excuses for shutting down Parliament, the Conservatives said they were consulting with Canadians.

Who did the Prime Minister consult with? In fact, when was the last time he took unscripted, uncontrolled questions from Canadians who aren’t in politics or the press?

You can’t lead if you can’t listen.

Middle-class families are worried about looking after their parents when they retire. They’re worried about getting their kids through school, and about the jobs that will be waiting for them at the other end.

Les familles canadiennes veulent savoir que leur gouvernement est branché sur les défis de demain et qu’il a un véritable plan pour faire du Canada un succès.

Ce budget échoue au test de la crédibilité, de la vision et de l’ambition.

Nous ne pouvons pas appuyer ce budget.

This budget fails the test of Canada’s potential. We cannot support it. We will vote against the budget motion now before us—but we will do so responsibly. We will not cause an election.

Canadians don’t want an election, but we do want an alternative.

That’s what we’re working to provide.

The Liberal Party is taking part in the most open, most transparent, most inclusive process of public policy renewal in Canadian history—one that will continue through our conference in Montréal later this month.

We’re engaging Canadians in a national conversation about the Canada we want in 2017—and I invite all members to join us in that dialogue.

What the Conservatives offer is now clear: austerity, cuts, freezes—you’re on your own, Canada, your government won’t help you.

Our vision is clear: use the positive power of government to make Canada the best educated, the healthiest, the greenest, and the most international society on earth.

These are goals worthy of a great people. And these are goals we can achieve.

We’ve done it before.

And together, we will do it again.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


 

‘The issue is credibility’

  1. ban “10-percenter” mailings outside MPs' own ridings

    Hallelujah

  2. Can I get an "Amen"?

    • Amen, and Amen!

      I also suggest requiring government advertising to be vetted by the Auditor General for partisanship, as is required in the province of Ontario.

      • Even though the province of Ontario STILL produces the very same kind of "partisan" ads that the federal government does? All governments tout their own policies, and don't put their party name on it. They all promise not to do it, then turn around and do it. And opposition partisans yell and scream, then support the practice once in power. I know I'm tired of the routine. It's gonna happen. Period.

        • Ontario partisan ads are talking up the MPP, not near-libeling other MPPs. At least the ones I get…

          • No, all governments produce ads that tout government policy. The federal Tories did it with their action plan, the Ontario Liberals did it with their green belt, retraining program, and other measures. Nothing to do with your libel accusation.

          • The 10 per centers I get are re hardly touting government policy.

        • Ok, first, the province's new campaign on its tax reforms contains no imagery related to Dalton McGuinty or the Ontario Liberals (I may be wrong, but a further quick glance suggests it doesn't even contain verbal reference to McGuinty or the Liberals). By contrast, the Canada's Economic Action Plan website (as I write this) has multiple images of Stephen Harper, Diane Finley, Jim Flaherty, and John Baird on it, all images of them making spending announcements, and extensive references to individual ministers as well as the "Harper government".

          Second, Ontario spent only $1.6 million on its latest campaign. By comparison, my understanding is the current federal advertising campaign is costing $34 million. Those numbers are no where near comparable to each other given that Ontario represents 1/3 of the nation's population.

    • My blue box says amen

  3. Ooh this is good.

    Now let's hope he keeps repeating the killer lines from that speech.

    The budget is a dead fish.

    • But Iggy's still going to bend over and let it pass, right?

      • he bent over alright and now he is asking his MP's to do the same = Man it must suck to be a Liberal right now!

      • With no poison pill (discovered yet anyways) and the polls suggesting only a smaller Conservative minority if there were an election, he will try to have his cake and eat it too. And there isn't much the Conservatives can counter with, since their strategy to fight the deficit is to increase spending and let it just kinda figure itself out.

        • Why do Conservatives have to counter? It's going to pass, just like everything else the Liberals said was horrible for the last four years. They rubber stamped it all.

          • Because part of having your cake and eating it too involves rubber stamping and condemning at the same time.

            The Conservatives have to counter because they have lost 10 points in 6 months and support is stagnating. And the increasing mud that sticks over time benefits whoever isn't in charge…

  4. "Well, Seniors Day is going to be pointless, if seniors can't afford to take the day off."

    It's a good line. This is a government that bails out profitable banks and then watches while retired people have their pensions dinged so that banks can recover their investement from failed companies.

    But is it real when the Liberals say things like this in Opposition?

    I seem to remember many occasions when the NDP have presented private members bills and proposed that Liberal governments address the bankruptcy legislation, but with no result.

    Workers are not creditors or investors who build a profit margin into their labour in case they have to take a loss. Their wages and pensions should come before investors, secured or otherwise, who are compensated for the risks they willingly take.

    It's a no-brainer, but it never happens.

  5. "What the Conservatives offer is now clear: austerity, cuts, freezes—you're on your own, Canada, your government won't help you."

    I only wish that was true.

  6. First, I found this final passage to be particularly amusing:

    These are goals worthy of a great people. And these are goals we can achieve.

    We've done it before.

    And together, we will do it again.

    What in the world is he talking about? He hasn't done ANYTHING here. He's spent the last thirty years wanting to be anywhere BUT here. Sheesh.

    Anyhow, regarding the budget response, I just don't get it. How in the world can a person so despise a budget, then turn around and let it pass?

    It's all talk. There is no substantive critique of the budget or of the government.

    Why not demand concessions? What's your big idea that needs to be addressed now? Demand it be included. Have some guts to back up your words with actions for a change. Stop reverting to the Stephane Dion M.O. of huffing and puffing, then sitting down. No?

    • "There is no substantive critique of the budget or of the government."

      That there's nothing substantive in this post-prorogue, recalibration budget IS Iggy's critique.

      Even if nothing bad happens over the next 5 years and growth is steady, Jim's budget will only bring us back to where we were in 2008. There's nothing in their proposals, programs or policies that advances anything … nothing to address pension reform, or to prepare Canada for retiring baby boomers, a smaller manufacturing sector, declining productivity, the weakness of our service sector internationally, let alone a credible industrial strategy, an actual energy policy, or policies that help small and medium sized businesses create more jobs, etc.

      Steve, Jim and Co. just hit pause and closed their eyes.

  7. If any of what you say has even an inkling of truth to it, or credibility, then why not demand it be in the budget? Otherwise, it's all the usual talk from Liberals, who would probably do none of it if ever given power soon.

    • If any
      even an inkling of truth
      why not
      it's all the usual talk
      who would probably
      if ever

      Sorry, but there's no way to respond to your comment without imploding under the weight of hedged suppositions and weasel words.

      • It's a simple question. Why don't the Liberals make even one demand that includes any of your so-called emergency needs? Who's the "weasel" again? lol

        • No, now your rewrite is closer to being a simple question. Ok, I'll bite.

          I'm going with that whole responsible opposition thingy. You might recall Harper, in opposition, often supported the Libs, whilst holding his nose, when the irresponsible opposition (NDP and Bloc) wouldn't. It's customarily part of the job description of the Loyal Opposition.

          If the Libs vote down the budget now, the we'll hear a chorus of: Canadian's don't want an election; oh, it's a fragile economic recovery; another $300 mil down the tubes; why won't they let Parliament work; he's just in it for himself… with the likely net result being a slimmer CPC minority.

          However, if Iggy keeps this tired gov't — bereft of ideas, credibility, accountability or the capacity for fiscal management — afloat for a few more months, he can: introduce actual policy options into the debate; capitalize on the inevitable ministerial gaffs and international embarrassments of Team Harper; watch more Red Tories and Blue Libs come back to the fold; test the gov'ts metal on issues of the rule of law, Parliamentary sovereignty, and demand answers on the gov'ts failure to address pension reform, job creation, energy, etc.

          As a critic, he's leaning that you let the actor (Harper) screw up his lines BEFORE you pan his performance. Mainly, though, I think that the Liberals want to keep the House of Parliament open for business for more than a few weeks at a time. Just to be bitchy.

          • It never ceases to amaze me how some bend over backwards to defend the nonsensical. I believe Harper supported one Liberal budget, and he first came out and actually praised the things he liked about it. He didn't engage in this fake puffery. He didn't thump his chest, only to back down when called. No, he was consistent. Yet Libs keep referring to it as some kind of benchmark, as something to aspire to one day.

            Again, if ANY of your criticisms had merit, this budget would be rejected by Canadians, and Liberals would have an easy road to power. Instead, you engage in mental gymynastics to justify your hypocrisy.

            The last economic numbers were terrific. Canadians want some cutbacks now. It's exactly what Canadians want. And you Libs are ultimately admitting it, despite yelling and screaming about it.

            As someone suggested earlier, it must be really tough to be a Liberal these days. Even embarrassing. I know I would be having to sustain these crazy arguments of yours.

          • well said and so very true : if there is one source of total and complete frustration to the harper haters is Stevies abiltiy to do exactly what he says he will and when he won't he comes and says he won't – this drives critics crazy and they will copy paste tons of articles that are all spin in order to validate their inane arguments.

  8. Let's face it.
    None of these politicians are speaking with the people or are interested in making life better for Canadians.
    They want to be elected, stay in office and pig out at the public trough.
    They have no charisma, vision or balls to make a real difference.
    For the most part, the party leaders should be charged with fraud for misleading the electorate and lying in Parliament.
    I am not a happy camper.

    WVS

  9. Iggy talking about credibility …. ROFL! … how anyone can take anything this guys says with any degree of credibility is quite beyond me. Yeah sure .. evil meanie conservatives are destroying democracy , ruining the world and invading our very dreams – BUT – Iggy won't actually stand up and VOTE against the gov't – why you ask – the real reason for this hypocrisy is one word = COWARDICE – he is afraid they would lose – Iggy will try his best to say canadians don't want an election BUT that was last year maybe a few more want one now! could be …. BUT … he is aftaid he would lose case closed! It must suck to be a liberal right now and there is no doubt about that ROFL!

    • psiclone – just wondering what has changed in you opinion from Sept. 2 to now?

      These after were your words at that time;

      Does anyone else get the feeling that Iggy has seriously misjudged the mood of the canadian voter, by coming out with both guns blazing at this time. Between you and me any party actively promoting an election at this time, is in dire need of a new advisory staff as well as and whose jusdgement should be serioulsy questioned. Although the reality is that what choice did Iggy have as he would have a revolt on his hands had he tried whipping his MP's into voting in support of the conservatives next confidence motion however this is turning into having a serious problem whipping them into voting at all!

      • you are right … I was right then and I am right now …. that was then this is now – stop living in the past …..

    • YMHTCFIT

    • I completely agree. I don't know how anyone can stand there, huff and puff like it's Armageddon, then sit down and not lift a finger to stop it.

      Oh wait, this is the NEW Liberal party. Standing up for something isn't in the cards. Neither is being on-side with the Canadian people, who obviously don't despise this government like the Liberals say they do.

  10. For those who have been paying attention to sites like this and large swaths of the left leaning media,

    is the extent to which the desperate search for a scandal (and the corresponding overhyping of every issue, in order to generate a scandal where none realistically exists),

    is related to the complete abscence of anything that can be considered a viable alternative to governing, by the current opposition.

    The Liberals appear to have become a reactionary party, content to offeatr critique, chirping and of course base smearing,

    but no real "government in waiting" sort of policy stuff.

    And so the "supporters" are left, not with rallying around thier positive vision, but searching for that shot in the dark "scandal" that will slip them into power.

  11. A sad state for the once great "natural governing party".